GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Twenty more women have joined a growing federal lawsuit against Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar.
It's the largest group to date to start or join a civil action against the three parties in connection with sexual assault allegations against the former MSU doctor. It brings to 78 the number of women or girls suing MSU and Nassar in federal court and a California state court. Five other lawsuits name Nassar and USA Gymnastics.
The group to file today includes a former MSU competitive cheerleader, a former ballerina, former youth gymnasts, former college athletes and women who say in court documents that they were teenage girls or sometimes younger when Nassar sexually assaulted them during multiple medical appointments on MSU's campus or at Twistars gymnastics club in Dimondale.
Nassar started working at MSU in 1997 and with USA Gymnastics in 1986.
MSU fired him in September and he left USA Gymnastics in the fall of 2015 with little notice. His medical license is currently suspended.
Prior to today's filing, more than 20 women or girls have said in court documents that a parent was in the room when Nassar sexually assaulted them, but blocked from seeing what he was doing.
A similar claim is made in the court documents filed today. One mother, according to court documents, asked Nassar what he was doing.
"Nassar gave an explanation she did not understand," attorneys wrote. "He did not explain that he was using vaginal or anal penetration.
"On that same occasion, (the) mother stood up and moved to attempt to see what Defendant Nassar was doing and Defendant Nassar moved to block her view."
During another appointment, the mother asked Nassar why he wasn't wearing gloves, according to court documents, and Nassar "did not provide an explanation and was dismissive of her question."
A woman who was an MSU athlete in the early 2000s said in court documents filed today that during an appointment with Nassar on MSU's campus, one that included digital vaginal penetration without gloves, a trainer knocked on the door and then walked into the room.
"Nassar jumped up from his stool and walked away" from the athlete, according to court documents, and his response to the trainer walking in prompted the athlete to ask Nassar to no longer perform the intragavinal procedure on her.
The court documents filed today include claims that Nassar made inappropriate sexual comments during medical appointments or while he was digitally penetrating the women. The court filing includes claims that Nassar gave the women gifts when they were younger, and that at least one woman suffered "bleeding and soreness" after the abuse.
Those are similar to claims previously made by women or girls who have filed lawsuits or been connected to sexual assault charges against Nassar.
Five separate law firms are suing MSU, USA Gymnastics, Twistars and others in federal court. The two law firms who filed court documents today adding 20 more women to their lawsuit now represent 42 women or girls who have filed civil actions in federal court.
Since September, when an Indianapolis Star report detailed the sexual assault allegations against Nassar from two women, more than 80 woman or girls have told police that Nassar sexually assaulted them. Many said it happened decades ago and during medical appointments.
Nassar, 53, of Holt, is now facing 28 criminal charges split between state and federal courts.
He faces 25 sexual assault charges split between Ingham and Eaton counties, including 22 charges that are directly related to his role as a doctor. He faces three federal charges for obtaining, possessing or destroying videos or images of child pornography.
During a federal detention hearing in December, an FBI agent testified that Nassar had at least 37,000 images and videos of child pornography on computers or hard drives located on his property. The agent also testified that the FBI found videos that appear to show Nassar sexually assault young girls in a pool.
More: Here’s a timeline of Nassar’s decades-long career and the allegations against him. This will continue to be updated.
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